First things first, my approach to Qabalistic Pathworking admittedly draws heavily on the Golden Dawn tradition, even though I have been experimenting with working the “Ari” Tree, and the material found in this post in particular owes much to the works of Mark Stavish and Alex Sumner, so I must give them credit and praise for the Path correspondences and also the ritual framework, respectively. With that said, please check out Stavish’s Kabbalah For Health and Wellness and Alex Sumner’s Path-working On The Qabalistic Tree of Life as the source of inspiration for most of this material.
The ritual outlined here is also based on a framework I recommended back when I first blogged about the invocation of Hebrew Letters and how to Pathwork using their corresponding section from Psalm 119. If you haven’t seen those posts yet, just understand that Psalm 119 is grouped into 22 sections according to each letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and I basically pose the idea to use those specific verses as one more association when attempting to connect with the spiritual force behind the Hebrew letters themselves, which in turn would then provide another method to Pathwork. In addition to this, I also explore the possibility of treating the Hebrew letters themselves as angelic entities, and I proposed that using the suffix of “iel” (יאל) affixed to the letter spellings, as traditional Angels themselves are named, would be yet another way to personify, and further, to invoke, the forces that these letters represent. However, I wanted to streamline this information as a bit of a magical journal here, just to show my train of thought and document my theory/practice, yet I of course understand that most of the magical crowd out there is working the Kircher Tree instead of my chosen Ari Tree, I figured I would post anyway.
First off, let’s take a look at the Tree and map out what it is each Path can do for us, using this design as a visual aid. Information on the Paths and how we can work with them is not nearly as prevalent as finding info on the Sephiroth themselves. I am going to assume that anyone still interested in using the Ari Tree will have at least some knowledge of the correspondences of the Sephiroth, and since this can be studied easily from many sources other than my own, I will include only the Path associations.
Path of Tav- Psalm 119:169-176- Malkuth to Yesod
This path connects the physical body to the subconscious/astral plane/subtle bodies. This is the bridge between the Earth and the Moon. Working this Path will balance irrational fears and obsessions, and it governs the dreams, ideas of both literal and symbolic birth and death, the solidification of ideas, reproduction, all higher things in their connection to the material world with the physical body, the link between the Outer world and the Inner, and Physicality with the Imagination and the Subconscious.
Path of Lamed- Psalm 119:89-96- Yesod to Hod
This path connects the subconscious/astral plane/subtle bodies to the mental energies of the intellect. This is the bridge between the Moon and Mercury. Working this Path establishes the connection between our conscious and rational mind with our subconscious mind and psychic centers, especially concerning dream states and insights into symbolism in general, bringing this information to light in a practical way of understanding instead of remaining hidden. The link between imagination and knowledge/logic.
Path of Nun- Psalm 119:105-112- Yesod to Netzach
This path connects the energies of the subconscious/astral plane/subtle bodies to the emotional energies of desire. This is the bridge between the Moon and Venus. Working this Path establishes the link between our emotions and the subconscious mind and the psychic centers, and deals with repressed emotions and bringing them to the surface in revelations, and also governs fertility and sexual issues as they pertain to their mental/astral context. The link between imagination and desire, the realm of fantasy.
Path of Mem- Psalm 119:97-104- Hod to Netzach
This Path connects the mental energies of the intellect with the emotional energies of desire. This is the bridge between Mercury and Venus. Working this Path will harmonize the Intellect and the Emotional aspects and governs anxieties of a general nature, while cultivating and purifying deeper intuition. The link between knowledge/logic and desire/pleasure.
Path of Resh- Psalm 119:153-160- Yesod to Tiphareth
This Path connects the energies of the subconscious/astral plane/subtle bodies to the Higher Self/True Will/aspects of Harmony. This is the bridge between the Moon and the Sun. Working this Path establishes a healthy link between the Ego and the true Higher Self, it reveals inner truths about the personality as a whole, and governs all processes of self-actualization and inner revelations about the True Will. Use this Path to meditate on and to establish the link between Lunar and Solar aspects. The link between the imagination and subconscious with harmony/wholeness/peace.
Path of Yod- Psalm 119:73-80- Netzach to Tiphareth
This Path connects the emotional energies of desire to the Higher Self/True Will/aspects of Harmony. This is the bridge between Venus and the Sun. Working this Path can bring the deeper emotional aspects into purification and harmonize them with the True Will and the life’s purpose. The link between emotional desire/pleasure and harmony/wholeness/peace.
Path of Samech- Psalm 119:113-120- Hod to Tiphareth
This Path connects the mental energies of the intellect with the Higher Self/True Will/aspects of Harmony. This is the bridge between Mercury to the Sun. Working this Path will bring the rational intellect and lower mental thought processes into balance with the True Will and the life’s purpose. Spiritual cognition may improve along with clairvoyance. The link between knowledge/logic with harmony/wholeness/peace.
Path of Tzaddi- Psalm 119:137-144- Tiphareth to Geburah
This Path connects the Higher Self to the aspects of Severity/Contraction. This is the bridge between the Sun and Mars. Working this Path will balance orderly and Martial energies with our sense of true self, and governs physical energy and health. Use this path to strengthen the Will and provide direction and ambition to the life’s purpose. The link between harmony/wholeness/peace with strength/energy.
Path of Peh- Psalm 119:129-136- Hod to Geburah
This Path connects the mental energies of the intellect to the aspects of Severity/Contraction. This is the bridge between Mercury to Mars. Working this Path will improve circulation of intellectual direction and flow of mental inspiration and rigorous follow-through in the context of the mental energies. The link between knowledge/logic and strength/energy.
Path of Aleph- Psalm 119:1-8- Geburah to Chesed
This Path connects the aspects of Severity/Contraction to the aspects of Mercy/Expansion. This is the bridge between Mars and Jupiter. Working this Path will provide higher balance to all thought and emotions and even the Higher Self, but especially in regards to taking control of issues of endurance, purposeful change, and prosperous self-governing aspects. The link between strength/energy with expansion/compassion/prosperity.
Path of Chet- Psalm 119:57-64- Tiphareth to Chesed
This Path connects the Higher Self/True Will/aspects of Harmony to the aspects of Mercy/Expansion. This is the bridge between the Sun and Jupiter. Working this Path will expand leadership and self-rulership ability and prosperity in general, governs the expansion of peace, luck, and also mental/physical health. The link between harmony/wholeness/peace with expansion/compassion/prosperity.
Path of Kaph- Psalm 119:81-88- Netzach to Chesed
This Path connects the emotional energies of desire to the aspects of Mercy/Expansion. This is the bridge between Venus and Jupiter. Working this Path will expand and purify feelings of love and compassion and harmonize them through physical expression and health. The link between emotional desire/pleasure with expansion/compassion/prosperity.
Path of Qoph- Psalm 119:145-152- Chesed to Binah
This Path connects the aspects of Mercy/Expansion to Archetypal Understanding/Form. This is the bridge between Jupiter to Saturn. Working this Path will combine the expansive and ruling energies of Jupiter with the formative boundaries and restrictions of Saturn. This path is a paradoxical fluctuating energy that results in a state of adaptability and fluidity. The link between expansion/compassion/prosperity and structure/limitation.
Path of Ayin- Psalm 119:121-128- Tiphareth to Binah
This Path connects the aspects of the Higher Self/True Will/aspects of Harmony to Archetypal Understanding/Form. This is the bridge between the Sun and Saturn. Working this Path imposes healthy limits and boundaries to life’s goals and higher purpose. The link between harmony/wholeness/peace and structure/limitation.
Path of Gimel- Psalm 119:17-24- Geburah to Binah
This Path connects the aspects of Severity/Contraction to the aspects of Archetypal Understanding/Form. This is the bridge between Mars and Saturn. This Path connects the Lesser and Greater Malefic forces and can be dangerous and tumultuous because it works with the essences of destructive reduction to break down unnecessary or weak forms built up in one’s spiritual life and higher psychology. The link between strength/energy and structure/limitation.
Path of Shin- Psalm 119:161-168- Binah to Chokmah
This Path connects the aspects of Archetypal Understanding/Form to the aspects of Archetypal Wisdom/Force. This is the bridge between Saturn and the Zodiac. Working this Path may result in the establishment of spiritual balance. The link between structure/limitation and creation/initiative.
Path of Zayin- Psalm 119:49-56- Geburah to Chokmah
This Path connects the aspects of Severity/Contraction to Archetypal Wisdom/Force. This is the bridge between Mars and the Zodiac. The link between strength/energy and creation/initiative.
Path of Tet- Psalm 119:65-72- Tiphareth to Chokmah
This Path connects the Higher Self/True Will/aspects of Harmony to Archetypal Wisdom/Force. This is the bridge between the Sun and the Zodiac. The link between harmony/wholeness/peace and creation/initiative.
Path of Bet- Psalm 119:9-16- Chesed to Chokmah
This Path connects the aspects of Mercy/Expansion to Archetypal Wisdom/Force. This is the bridge between Jupiter and the Zodiac. The link between expansion/compassion/prosperity and creation/initiative.
Path of Heh- Psalm 119:33-40- Chokmah to Kether
This Path connects Archetypal Wisdom/Force to Archetypal Consciousness. This is the bridge between the Zodiac and Divine Union/Gnosis. The link between creation/initiative and unitive consciousness/Divine awareness.
Path of Dalet- Psalm 119:25-32- Tiphareth to Kether
This Path connects the Higher Self/True Will/aspects of Harmony to Archetypal Consciousness. This is the bridge between the Sun and Divine Union/Gnosis. The link between harmony/wholeness/peace and unitive consciousness/Divine awareness.
Path of Vav- Psalm 119:41-48- Binah to Kether
This Path connects Archetypal Understanding/Form to Archetypal Consciousness. This is the bridge between Saturn and Divine Union/Gnosis. The link between structure/limitation and unitive consciousness/Divine awareness.
Now, let’s talk about a Pathworking ritual framework. My version of Pathworking relies heavily on the shift in consciousness that meditation brings, and allowing yourself to pause for a time and deepen your thoughts while going back to the ritual is a must for this method.
For this style of Pathworking you’ll need to set up your altar as simply as possible. The few elements I would recommend are simply a black and white candle setup, white on the right for the Active/Male/Positive Force, and black on the left for Passive/Female/Negative Form. This is simple enough and represents a great deal for the modern ceremonial magician. It is symbolizes the opposing forces of the Universe, and the double pillar setup usually functions as an archetypal Gateway in many lodge traditions. The initiate or practitioner should keep in mind that he or she then represents the synthesis of such forces, and in Qabalah, this is the Middle Pillar and central “trunk” of the Tree.
The rest of the elements are up to you to decide what you’ll need once you “arrive” at your planned destination of Pathworking, though simpler is better. For instance, I recently had a discussion with a friend and fellow magician about how they were looking for options on how to raise their consciousness to the Creative World of Briah, create certain intents and goal-oriented imagery on this level, and have it trickle down through to Assiah and manifest on the Physical plane. I suggested that once having worked their way up the Tree by the method here explained, you have many ways of using some simple sympathetic magic at this point to reinforce what you’re doing mentally/astrally.
For instance, I suggested to work out your statement of intent and reduce it to a simple word. Find the proper translation of this word in Hebrew, then using the Golden Dawn Rose Cross, create a sigil using this word. After your ascension you could use this sigil to strongly project in a full visualization, and you could even couple this with grounding yourself by physically drawing this sigil onto the surface of a bowl of water with your finger or writing it onto a small mirror (if working in Yesod for example), or inscribing it into a yellow Solar Candle or using the candle flame to draw and project (if working in Tiphareth). Another option would be to draw the sigil on a notecard and then burn it, saving the ashes for some leftover mojo, if you feel so inclined. The opportunities are endless, but also wholly optional, as there are some who may prefer to keep their Pathworking solely on the mental and astral levels. Personally, I prefer to mix the two approaches.
The ritual framework would follow as recommended; start by doing some deep meditation for as long as it takes to get you properly relaxed. Some may prefer to perform a banishing ritual. One brother of mine described to me how he often performed the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram mentally with good results, which may be a viable alternative to a physical LRP since visualization plays such a huge part in the required sections. I would recommend opening the oratory by a simple prayer like the Our Father, or maybe the GD’s Adoration of the Lord of the Universe.
Commence with a Statement of Intent. This is always good to do with any sort of working anyway for multiple but mostly obvious reasons. Keep your SoI clear and concise. For our Pathworking, it could be something like this: “It is my will to raise my consciousness to [Sephirah] of [Qabalistic World], in order to petition the heavenly gatekeepers for assistance in [goal].” Maybe throw in a line about approaching these entities humbly in order to make a positive hange within yourself and thus progress the Great Work. Or not. ‘Sup to you.
Notice that since our previous example dealt with travelling forward on the Tree through the Worlds instead of merely using the single Tree model, things get specific here. I’ve included this simple diagram to map out our potential paths of travel. Though, keep in mind that one cannot expect to fully enter and experience the upper realms of abstract thought and creation by merely using meditation and ritual. However, this is exactly why its important that we approach the entities along the way and petition them to help us ascend in whatever way possible, and to further our cause. In this manner, approaching the Angels of the Tree and asking them for assistance and to do some of the work for us is paramount to any amount of success.
Notice also that I have included the “Secret Names” of the Worlds; Atziluth: “Aub”, Briah: “Seg”, Yetzirah: “Mah”, Assiah: “Ben”. In the bit of searching that I have done, I can’t find much use of these names in a practical magical method. However, we can use them to vibrate and to act as a further “key” to connecting to the higher worlds, just as one would separate the Tetragrammaton by its letters to connect to each level as well.
Now comes the artsy part of our journey, if you so choose to incorporate some mandalas into your meditations. These visual aids will help one focus their concentration and then visualize with closed eyes. For example, for simplicity’s sake, if we were to travel to Tiphareth of Yetzirah, we would draw out (or print, if you’re lazy) a set of Hebrew letters to meditate on or scry upon as a gateway, using the appropriate colors of each World of Qabalah. You can find these correspondences easily here: Color Scales in the Four Worlds.
Once having used the appropriate invocations of each Divine Name and Archangel, and having also read the Psalms of each Hebrew Letter for your pathway through Assiah, you can then approach them again in the higher worlds using a mental projection of their sigils instead of being subject to unnecessary repetition, depending on how high up you’re going. To proceed up the Tree by way of the Middle Pillar would yield a framework something like this:
Malkuth of Assiah (Invocation of Adonai Ha-Aretz/Sandalphon/Ben)
Tav of Assiah (Psalm 119:169-176)
Yesod of Assiah (Invocation of Shaddai El Chai/Gabriel)
Resh of Assiah (Psalm 119:153-160)
Tiphareth of Assiah (Invocation of YHVH Eloah Ve-Da’ath/Raphael or Michael)
Daleth of Assiah (Psalm 119:25-32)
Kether of Assiah/Malkuth of Yetzirah (Invocation of Eheieh/Metatron and Adonai Ha-Aretz/Sandalphon/Mah)
Tav of Yetzirah (Project Taviel sigil or Tav Letter)
Yesod of Yetzirah (Project sigils of Shaddai El Chai/Gabriel)
Resh of Yetzirah (Project Reshiel sigil or Tav Letter)
Tiphareth of Yetzirah (Project sigils of YHVH Eloah Ve-Da’ath/Raphael or Michael)
You get the idea.
Now as for visualizing the Sephirotic Temples, I use a simple framework of the appropriate sephirotic or planetary flashing colors. Others are able to visualize intense details, I am certainly not one of them. I picture the Angels as luminous beings who interact with me in simple ways like a cross blessing and an unveiling of an arched gateway that leads to the next Path and Hebrew Letter.
Once you have “arrived” at your destination, thank the gatekeepers and petition for assistance for your main goal. Here is where the gray area comes in, where you have a myriad of ways to employ your intentions. If it is to be done all in the mind, then keep it simple. If you are incorporating some physical reinforcements while at your altar, try not to take too long or your shift in consciousness may be too abrupt.
Some prefer to backtrack their way down the Trees, and this is certainly recommended for general safety, however, you may wish to briefly petition Adonai Ha-Aretz/Sandalphon of Malkuth to guide your way back and to “ground” your consciousness properly. Take some time before entering back into mundane activities as well, spend a few minutes in thankful prayer, or in meditation without any specific visuals.
I hope this post gives you some ideas for your own Pathworking experiments, whether or not you subscribe to the Ari Tree symbolism or whatever. Peace.